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Family Recipes I've Never Eaten Anywhere Else

Updated on October 1, 2014

Family Recipes Keep Memories Alive

Family recipes are one of my fondest memories of growing up. My very large family always got together at holidays, and like many other families, food was a big part of any get together.

Our Aunt Mary, my mom's sister, was a wonderful cook and her baked goods were always a favorite.

She had some recipes that I've never tasted anywhere else, namely her sweet corn, fried pumpkin blossoms, and gooseberry pie. Delicious! Mom made a few delicacies of her own!

Photo of my mom's crock that I'll hand down to my daughter. Mom made pancakes, snapped green beans, and made hundreds of other dishes in this bowl.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Mushroom ready for the frying pan.
Mushroom ready for the frying pan.

Mom's Recipes

Sweet Rice, Grape Juice, and Fried Mushrooms

Mom was a good cook, but with a mess of kids, she had to cook, all the time. She cooked so much that it wasn't the fun event that it was for Aunt Mary, her childless sister. But there were a few family recipes that only Mom made.

Mom made sweet rice, something I have never had since, unless I make it. For dessert every once in awhile, Mom cooked a pan of white rice and spooned some into bowls, poured cold milk over it and let us add sugar. It was delicious. I had no clue that other people ate rice with a meal until I was well into my twenties. We only ever had it for dessert.

Another family recipe of Mom's was her famous grape "juice." We had a grape vine that grew great big fat purple grapes (Concord, I guess). We'd pick them, wash them, then Mom took 1/2-gallon canning jars that she'd prepared and added 1/2 cup of sugar, a cup of grapes, and filled it with boiling water.

She then snapped a flat canning lid on top and screwed on the band. We let them sit till we heard the pop, which meant they had sealed. In the winter Mom would have one of us bring up a jar of grape juice from the basement and it was so tasty in the middle of winter.

In the spring we'd head out to the pastures looking for mushrooms, the kind that are all bumpy. Mom would slice them in half, rinse them off, and dip them in egg and flour and fry them. So tasty!

Photo Source: sxu.hu/re-cre8

Canning Jars and Gaskets and Lids and Bands

Mom used canning jars like there was no tomorrow. We canned all summer when green beans were ready or tomatoes.

Mom made pickles and jelly. Whatever we had, we canned.

Crocks for Mixing - Everything!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
One of my mom's crocks that she used to mix everything. She made pancakes in this crock, snapped green beans for supper in it, and made more cookies than I can count.My son calls this color Grandma Green.
One of my mom's crocks that she used to mix everything. She made pancakes in this crock, snapped green beans for supper in it, and made more cookies than I can count.
One of my mom's crocks that she used to mix everything. She made pancakes in this crock, snapped green beans for supper in it, and made more cookies than I can count.
My son calls this color Grandma Green.
My son calls this color Grandma Green.
Sweet corn.
Sweet corn.

Sweetened Sweet Corn Family Recipe

So sweet it hurts your teeth

Aunt Mary brought her famous sweet corn in a big pan to nearly every family gathering. She used fresh sweet corn that she had cut off the cob and froze within an hour of picking it. When it was time to make her sweet corn, she'd take a couple of quart bags of corn from the freezer and add them to a Guardian Ware pan with butter.

I have no idea how much. She didn't measure it but I imagine she used a stick of butter and then she added sugar. Again, I don't know how much. It was so good though and you could definitely tell the sweet corn had been sweetened. I'm guessing 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sugar was added. She also salted and peppered it to counteract a bit of the sweetness.

Yum!

Photo Source: sxu.hu/dinny

Guardian Service - This one's mine!

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Guardian Service cookware that I inherited from Aunt Mary. This would hold a whole mess of sweet corn!The guardian with his shield raised in the glass lid.The Guardian Service emblem on the bottom of the hammered aluminum pan.
Guardian Service cookware that I inherited from Aunt Mary. This would hold a whole mess of sweet corn!
Guardian Service cookware that I inherited from Aunt Mary. This would hold a whole mess of sweet corn!
The guardian with his shield raised in the glass lid.
The guardian with his shield raised in the glass lid.
The Guardian Service emblem on the bottom of the hammered aluminum pan.
The Guardian Service emblem on the bottom of the hammered aluminum pan.

Aluminum Pan - Similar to Guardian Ware

The Guardian Service company made hammered aluminum cookware, often called Guardian Ware. They manufactured the popular cookware from the 1930s until they went out of business in 1958 when their California plant burnt down.

This pan is as close as I could find to match the Guardian Service that Aunt Mary used to cook her sweetened sweet corn.

Pumpkin blossom.
Pumpkin blossom.

Fried Pumpkin Blossoms

You had to get up early...

Each summer, Aunt Mary planted pumpkins, but she rarely got a pumpkin from the plant. She picked the pumpkin blossoms (fondly called punkin blooms in our parts) when they were open early in the morning before it got too hot and the blossoms closed up again. Then she'd take the delicate blossoms into the house and if I recall, she put them in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator till it was time to fix dinner.

At lunchtime (called dinner in our parts of the Midwest; the evening meal is supper), Aunt Mary would dry off the blossoms. Then she beat an egg, crushed some cornflake crumbs, and dipped each pumpkin blossom in egg then the crumbs and fried them in butter. They were always a perfect golden brown and delicious. These were so delicate and good. Oh man. One of those with fresh sliced tomatoes and roasteneers (corn on the cob for you city slickers) was the best lunch!

Photo Source: sxu.hu/plrang

Cast Iron Skillets and more - Cooks the best pumpkin blossoms

Aunt Mary cooked the pumpkin blossoms over low heat in a cast iron skillet. These heavy duty skillets provide even heat that works so well for so many cooking chores.

Gooseberries ready to be made into pie.
Gooseberries ready to be made into pie.

Aunt Mary's Gooseberry Pie

Tart and Sweet!

Gooseberries are a weird little berry that I helped Aunt Mary pick on occasion. I remember the gooseberry bush had sharp thorns so picking them wasn't exactly easy. But it was worth it.

If you've never had gooseberry pie, I'm sorry. If you have and liked it, you know what I'm talking about. Aunt Mary somehow knew how much sugar to add to make those awful sour gooseberries not only palatable but delicious. On their own, gooseberries are terribly sour, but at Aunt Mary's hand (and under a pile of sugar), her pie was delicious.

Photo Source: sxu.hu/technare

Pie Pans - and a ring so you don't burn the crust, missy.

Bananas with mayo and nuts.
Bananas with mayo and nuts.

More Family Recipes

A Little Help From Family

I recently posted a link to this lens on Facebook. Several family members remembered more family recipes that I'd forgotten about. Here's one of them:

From Doris: Sliced bananas with mayonnaise and pecans.

Yep! We had these a lot growing up and I've never eaten them anywhere else! The recipe is very easy. Take a couple of peeled bananas. Cut them in half both ways (long and across the middle) so you have four pieces. Place on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of mayo on each piece of banana and top with chopped nuts (we used pecans).

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Which of my family recipes sounds good to you?

Can you pick just one?

See results

Do you have family recipes that you've never eaten anywhere else?

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Those banana slices with mayo have to be the most unique food item I've seen in a long time. I love the theme of this lens. Love rice with milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Yum! My great aunt in Minnesota introduced me to that sweet treat. The only family recipe I can think of that is somewhat unique is my mother's deep, moist chocolate cake made with coffee. I'm sure it exists elsewhere, but I never had it anywhere but at home.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Interesting - I can't think of any from my own family, offhand, but I'm sure there are some!

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      I love this lens, Peggy. I can "hear" you (even though I never had) as I read your words. It's obvious that this article was created with love - just like the family recipes you document.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      I have never heard of those recipes before.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
      Author

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @JenaleeMortensen: Thanks for sharing your family recipes. It's funny what we eat at home before we get out into the big world and see how others eat.

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 6 years ago

      My dad would only eat rice with milk and sugar and a little cinnamon and maybe some raisins. Even though my mother fixed Spanish Rice, my dad wouldn't eat it. Rice was only a desert in his opinion. My mother also made a desert she called Thicken 'n' Milk and she made Tomatoes and Bread with the stale dried out bread at the end of the week.. I wish I knew the recipes, but unfortunately she died before I learned her recipes. Thanks for sharing your memories.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
      Author

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Virginia Allain: Interesting, elderberry! Isn't it amazing what can be eaten?!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      My grandmother would dip elderberry blossoms into batter, then deep-fry them like fritters. This inspires me to get some of mom's recipes out for a heritage cooking lens. She has recipes for sourdough bread and dandelion jelly.

      This was a delightful read.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image
      Author

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @rickmac lm: That's great, Rick. Isn't it funny what families do?!

    • rickmac lm profile image

      Rick McBride 6 years ago from Dallas

      Our version of shrimp etoufee is a lot different from other ones I have had. My grandmother had a Guardian Service pan that we still use to make cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving. It just doesn't taste right in any other pot.

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